WASHINGTON — Heading into Sunday’s friendly with Germany, US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann was excited to play a team that would keep the US players “on their toes.”
After the USMNT hung on for a 4-3 victory over die Mannschaft, Klinsmann recognized that it worked out the opposite way.
“Today, we set the tone right from the beginning,” he said. “We pressured them high. We made it very difficult for them to play out of the back, which they love to do, and we were right there on their toes.”
The central-midfield fulcrum of Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley, in particular was all over the place, clogging the middle of the field, linking the ball from the back to the front. It was all a far cry from the passive performance in the midweek loss to Belgium.
“I think there was a far higher pace in our game [today], a better understanding,” Klinsmann said. “We had moments when we really passed the ball from the back into the frontline, with five, six, seven, eight one-touch balls, and that’s what it is on the higher level. You have to go through the midfield with speed, and we can do that. Today we did a very good job.”
But the juxtaposition of Sunday’s strong result with the Belgium loss raises questions of consistency. Again. As the US gets ready to travel to Jamaica for a World Cup qualifier on Friday, June 7, even Klinsmann seemed to be preparing for how he will talk to his players over the next few days of training.
“This is what we need to do every game,” he said. “You have to win your individual battles and you have to move off the ball and you have to create stuff.”
Creating stuff was not much of a problem for the Americans on Sunday. They not only scored four goals for the first time since May 2012, when they beat Scotland, 5-1, and only the second time since topping Grenada, 4-0, in the 2009 Gold Cup, but also took 16 shots, seven on target.
Clint Dempsey had the second multi-goal game of his US career, notching his 34th and 35th goals to surpass Eric Wynalda and take second place alltime on the US goalscoring charts.
“Having a player like Clint Dempsey on our team, it is a privilege,” Klinsmann said. “I think when you look back, this is one of the best players in US history, performance now every game on a very, very high level.”
Dempsey’s running partner up top, Jozy Altidore, scored his first international goal since 2011 and set up Dempsey for his first goal of the day.
It was all a far cry from the scoring issues that have plagued the side in recent months.
“Overall, a good performance,” Klinsmann said. “We saw a lot of things we wanted to see. ... The players will enjoy themselves tonight.”